Possibly the most intersting piece of software ever written on the GBA, pocketNES and we have an interview with the author, mr. Loopy. I found him really funny altough being pretty direct on answers, complete opposite of The HiVe indeed.

Feel free to discuss this interview on our NEW forum!

GBA Hell : A classic question for our interviews, you are famous now, how does it feel to be interviewed?

Loopy : So I'm famous, eh? I wouldn't say that. Being chosen to do an interview does inflate your ego a bit =)

GBA Hell : Have u got a real life work, are you looking for one or just studying?

Loopy : I'm a U.S. Marine.

GBA Hell : Which programming languages do you master? Do you consider coders better than the rest?

Loopy : I know assembly (various CPUs) and C. Better than the rest (of what?).. not really.

GBA Hell : How hard is gba coding in your opinion?

Loopy : With good documentation and tools, it's not very hard at all. I prefer console coding for its simplicity.. there's no OS to get between you and the machine.

GBA Hell : LoopyNes, the fastest nes emulator ever, why did you make it and what does PocketNES inherit from it?

Loopy : Emulators intrigued me, I wanted to see if I could make one myself. The NES was my favorite system, so that's where I started. The CPU core in PocketNES is based on Loopynes; that's the only thing they have in common.

GBA Hell : Which classic system did you own in the past, and which ones did you buy as a grown up?

Loopy : NES, SNES, and Atari Lynx. More recently I've bought a Playstation and Gamecube.

GBA Hell : Now, since this site is about GBA, since we are doing an interview about your emulator, I guess we should talk about it. PocketNES, why did you choose the NES, when did you start coding, how long have you been coding it and how many hours a week are you still putting on it?

Loopy : I chose the NES because I know it well, and it's fairly easy to emulate on the GBA. I've worked on it off and on for about 6 months. Nowdays I only put in .. I don't know, only a few hours a week. Real works's been taking up more of my time lately.

GBA Hell : It's been quite some time since we've seen an update of PocketNES. With the release of Famicom Advance, has having some competition inspired you to continue your work?

Loopy : Err, I think it has more to do with my loyal followers egging me on :)

GBA Hell : How fast is PocketNES compared to real Hardware in your experience?

Loopy : It varies a lot depending on the game, but on average it's between 80-100% as fast as the real hardware.

GBA Hell : What is missing still in your own opinion and what are you looking for to add in next weeks, please offer us a schedule (that of course, being a coder, you will not be able to maintain!)?

Loopy : Changes I'd like to see: more mappers, better sound, better display (still some glitches here and there), and link play. I have no schedule, I just sit down and work on whatever i'm in the mood for.

GBA Hell : What percentage of games are running on current build? Is 100% your target?

Loopy : I honestly don't know. I haven't tested many games on it.. just the ones I like playing. I'm not aiming for a certain percentage, I'm happy with where it's at. If there are certain games people ask for a lot, I'll try to make them work.

GBA Hell : Sound was the weakest point of pocketNES 6, I have had the pleasure to play that lost 6 and half -sortofinternal- version, and I must admit you made some good improvements, what's your thought about pocketNES sound system in current version and in future ones.

Loopy : In the current version (v6) it stinks. I hadn't touched the sound code since version 3. I've started over from scratch and can say it's a vast improvement. Better than FA? Probably not.

GBA Hell : Like we asked in previous interview, how come there are 2 emulators for NES and 2 for ZX already and no advanced public emu for other "easy" consoles like colecovision or vcs2600?

Loopy : Emulators take a lot of work to make, you need to thoroughly understand how a particular machine works. I guess there aren't enough of those around that also do GBA coding in their spare time. I'm suprised how many emulators on the GBA have popped up already.. shows you how capable the little machine really is.

GBA Hell : Which one you consider superior, your own emulator or FA, what do you envy to FA and what he should die to rip you off?

Loopy : I still like mine better. I like its scaled display better, the state saving, and I think it's a little easier to use. He has me beat in the sound department.

GBA Hell : Do you like competition or does it piss you off? If you want we can set up some bad guys with baseball bat and be certain that PocketNES will be the best one in future...

Loopy : Yes I like competition and yes it pisses me off :) That's a Good Thing. Competition is healthy for software development. It shows you your weaknesses, and how you can do things better.

GBA Hell : Do you see emulators for Megadrive-Genesis, Snes or even PC Engine running at close full speed on GBA hardware now that you have been tweaking with every single bit of GBA?

Loopy : I don't see it happening. The GBA's CPU just isn't fast enough to emulate more advanced systems at a reasonable speed.

GBA Hell : Something we didn't ask in previous interviews, what about emulators for C-64, Apple II, Amiga and Atari ST, is there any chance? Should we buy a Keyboard for GBA (Note for Smart Reader: We are kidding...)?

Loopy : Possible, certainly.. but I don't expect it will ever happen. I think it would be too awkward emulating a computer on something like the GBA.

GBA Hell : How long will you keep tweaking the wonderful PocketNES Emu? Will you move to something else, maybe still for GBA and still emulation related (we were talking about Coleco and 2600...)?

Loopy : There may be one or two updates after the next release. I've taken it as far as I want to, and want to move on to something else. I won't work on any other emulators. Maybe a GBA game.. who knows.

GBA Hell : Are you looking after someone elses GBA project, who would you consider best homebrew GBA coder around?

Loopy : I was really impressed with Bust-a-Move (by Russ Prince). Better than the commercial GBA game, in my opinion. (note: we have it on Play Online section)

GBA Hell : Any wider thoughts on GBA homebrew scene? The HiVe feels like it is elitaristic, what's your thought?

Loopy : I don't think so.. the gbadev mailing list is quite active and there are a lot of helpful people on it. If it seems elitist, remember there are NDA's people have to adhere to.

GBA Hell : What do you like to do when you are not coding, of course skipping sex related matters...?

Loopy : Get drunk. Read books. That's about it.. depressing, isn't it :P

GBA Hell : Which are your favourite Videogames all-time and nowadays?

Loopy : NES games: Zelda, Bionic Commando, Street Fighter 2010. Playstation: WipeoutXL. PC: Quake, Descent. I haven't played many recent PC games..

GBA Hell : X-Box, Gamecube, PS2, none or all? Both from a coding point of view and as a gamer?

Loopy : From a coding point of view, I can't say. I haven't done any coding on them. As a gamer.. I've always been a fan of Nintendo. They've always been dedicated to making high quality games.

GBA Hell : Thanks for everything, any final thoughts, some exclusives to offer at the end?

Loopy : Not really. I'm trying to get v7 out the door real soon, I promise :)

The Lost Question

GBA Hell : So should we start collecting baseball bats for that FA affair?

Loopy : Haha, you should really give him more credit. He's done some fine work.

Feel free to discuss this interview on our NEW forum!